Hemet High AG program fosters student leadership

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          “I find it very rewarding when students who have been working towards projects or contests see their hard work pay off.”  Ms. Katie Fernandes

Hemet High School graduate and Agriculture teacher Katie Fernandes and six of her students were guest presenters at the recent California Retired Teachers Association Division 33 luncheon on April 9th at the Seven Hills Members Club in Hemet.  After a brief introduction by Ms. Fernandes, Hemet High Ag students Andres Moreno, Nick Leon, Natali Romero, Esmeralda Aleman, Emmale Americano, and Sam Rodriguez each took turns discussing their busy schedule with FFA events and the many pathways to choose from in the Hemet High School Agriculture program, including Ag Mechanics I and II, Animal Science and Vet Science, Ag Floriculture I and II, and a new pathway coming next year — Ag Food and Plant Science.  The six talented student leaders also shared some of the honors and awards they earned at the many events they’ve been involved with this school year, including six Career Development Events throughout California, Leadership Development Conferences, the recent California Agricultural Education State Leadership Conference in Sacramento, the Riverside County Fair and the National Date Festival in Indio.

Group photo above, left to right: Andres Romero, Nick Leon, Natalie Romero, Esmeralda Aleman, Emmale Americano, Sam Rodriguez, Ms. Katie Fernandes

        Fernandes encourages her students to create their own projects, including floral arrangements, ag mechanics, gardening, aquaponics, and animals, of course.  She most enjoys seeing her students get involved and find something that sparks their interest. “I find it very rewarding when students who have been working towards projects or contests see their hard work pay off and do well in competitions and realize how much they have grown in their abilities,” Fernandes says.  Students brought many of their projects to the luncheon to be purchased by CalRTA attendees, with all items selling out quickly. 

       After graduating from HHS in 2013, Fernandes attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, where she graduated in 2017 then went on to earn her teaching credential.  She began teaching at HHS in 2019. “Hemet has always been a special place for me,” Fernandes says.  “I had the idea from a young age to be a teacher, and being an active member of Hemet FFA gave me a desire to continue in the education field, specifically for agriculture, and come back to Hemet to give back to the community that helped me.” 

Group photo top, left to right:  Andres Moreno, Nick Leon, Natalie Romero, Esmeralda Aleman, Emmale Americano, and Sam Rodriguez.

            For more information about the California Retired Teachers Association, go to calrta.org or div33.calrta.org.

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